Canada doesn’t spend a lot of time or money trying to field a world-champion soccer team. We don’t even try to have the CFL compete with the NFL. It doesn’t matter how much time and money we might spend on the problem: others own the soccer and football fields. But we do consistently field world-beating hockey teams. It’s a game we can, and do, win. We invest time, effort and emotion keeping the game ours – house leagues, coaching for young players, and a full ratchet right up to the top. We’ re smart to put our effort into a game we can win.
Ontario will never win the solar or wind technology game. We’ll get a piece of it – Morgan Solar, for example, has a shot at the big leagues. But by and large, China owns that space and will dominate for years to come. Ontario should put its efforts into a field it can win. That’s the SmartGrid: smart energy networking, communications, storage, automated demand response, self-healing grids, etc. We’ve already got the networking history, and talent. There are up-and-comers in storage (Hydrostor, Temporal, Electrovaya), home energy networking (MMB), and elsewhere . GE has opened up a huge SmartGrid center in Ontario. Other big corporates are here.
The Green Energy and Economy Act can turbo-charge our chances. It’s put lots of wind and solar on the grid. Some don’t like that – it can make the grid unstable, and is a pain to manage. But that’s the opportunity. We can look to those hotspots as a problem to solve, and create solutions. That’s precisely the expertise and technology we’ll soon be exporting to the rest of the world.
But it’s not just technological innovation we need: it’s regulatory and financial too.
Opening our grid to clean energy was a risk. Opening it further to innovation is another. But it’s a risk we need to take.
Hockey’s our game. The SmartGrid could be too.
Come to the Future of Energy Summit, Friday June 8th at MaRS to find out more.